The content below based on a true story developed from a book of poetry published at Amazon.com called “Adoration, Anger, Asylum and Aspiration”. The poems were created from thoughts of a young girl confused about her love, anger from abuse and the actions of her mother and the older man she was forced to marry. Aspirations became her final voice, her desires, wishes, her thoughts on life and her lost innocence before she was placed behind the walls of an asylum. This conversion from poetry will be Rebecca’s story, a story where death meant freedom; the story leading up to this ending segment shows the many years of pain and this is the last moments of her life.
The Black Box
Rebecca watched her father walked through the double doors of their home without looking back at her. Her mother and husband seem to be talking to someone about how she had been upset with her miscarriages and talked of killing herself. All lies! She looked at her arm, the rubber tubing, the glass syringe, felt the numbness. Her vision blurred, the fleur-de-lis wallpaper in her mother’s living room became waves of beige and gold swaying in an invisible breeze. She became was suspended in an ocean of oblivion.
When Rebecca began to regain her senses, she was lying on an examining table in a Shelby County Tennessee Medical Clinic, she recognized the doctor, the same one that had given her the shot in her mother’s house. Standing in the corner of the room were her mother, husband and two sheriff deputies. It was fear that paralyzed her this time; but the doctor gave her another shot, this time she did not protest. It was then that the doctor and a nurse put her into the back of a squad car she could hear her mother telling her husband that it was almost over that his wife would never try to leave him again. Rebecca felt her mother’s face close to hers as she leaned into the back seat, and in a heartless whisper said…
“You see what happens when you try to disgrace me,” then the spray of evil from her tongue continued, “Putting you away for being insane will be more acceptable than have you leave your husband. You’re a southerner, a Darwin for God sake.”
Hours later, Rebecca found herself quivering beneath a threadbare blanket, she fought violently against the straps confining her to a bed and her mind battled with drugged hallucinations that became chaotic dreams. Each time she woke, she quietly watched what appeared to be unwanted souls shuffle back and forth in a dimly lit hallway. Rebecca knew of Challis Manor, located at the edge of the Appalachian foothills. It provided medical treatment for the mentally ill, a place where wealthy Tennesseans paid to have members of their families placed to avoid embarrassment. Rebecca was not there because she had a mental or physical problem; she was there because she tried to leave an abusive husband.
Days moved into weeks as Rebecca struggled in the confusion, she had undergone several shock treatments, but it had not taken away her need to be free. She fought confinement, she fought treatments and she wanted her father to come and take her away. A nurse brought Rebecca two small pills, it was extra medication and it could mean only one thing, it was time for another treatment. Nurses put her on a gurney rolled her into the hallway outside her room. She could not stop her mind as it hovered between reality and the delusional. Should she doubt herself, she examined the redness of her wrist made by her constantly fighting the heavy leather straps causing deep cuts; then after medication, Rebecca’s involuntary thrashing turned into calmness.
Her mind frozen in time and her body controlled, her madness brought confused memories. She would drift for hours in hopelessness, her flesh burning, she wondered if she would ever escape the anguished nightmares of her childhood, her marriage, her life.
“Daddy, is that you?”
Rebecca’s visions clung to her like the sweat that gathered and rolled down her face in her fretful attempt to get free. It is hot, no one cared, and a white clad figure took her hand, the gurney was moving, and then stopped. A glass vial of a syringe glittered in the semi-lit room; it was more medication to help them imprison her mind, again.
“Daddy I’m afraid.”
“Daddy, are you there?”
Rebecca’s visions clung to her like the sweat that gathered and rolled down her face; she remembers a little girl riding with her daddy on the back of a fine Tennessee walking horse in an open field. She felt someone pick up her hand, turning it was a nurse. A glass syringe glittered in the semi-lit room; it was more medication to help them imprison her mind.
“Daddy, daddy are you there, I’m afraid.”
Rebecca knew about the small room designed for suffering; the plastered walls had cracks that snaked toward the ceiling resembling leafless trees in winter. She tried to open her eyes but the glare from the lights blinded her. The room was filled with people, nurses, doctors; one saying shock treatment again might be risky; somewhere in the distance, Rebecca could hear her mother’s voice fervently auguring with someone.
She could picture her mother’s face contorted with anger; then remembered, her mother preferred a lunatic in the family instead of a divorced daughter. “You see what happens when you try to disgrace me, putting you away for being insane will be more acceptable than have you leave your husband.”
White flecks began to explode behind Rebecca’s closed eyes. Her arms and legs strain against the straps as the drug raced through her body. She opened her eyes and watched as the blood coming from her bound wrist spread across her pale flesh leaving a crimson trail down to the sheet. She drifted among abysmal visions of pain and humiliation; traveling into a realm of kaleidoscopic dreams when she heard her mother say…
“I am paying you people enough to take such a risk, and I signed a waiver, what else do you want, this time, finish the job!”
Rebecca opened her eyes and looked at the mirrored window across from her; she knew behind it stood her mother, and her husband. The poignant smell of antiseptic became heavy in the air. Rebecca felt herself losing control of her thoughts; she could feel her eyes as if on a mission of their own dart back and forth taking in the limited boundaries of the small treatment room, a surge of electricity violated her body, her mind, and her senses. She bit a wooden paddle between her teeth in half as the electrical current coursed deeply into her brain. If she woke, she would try to remember how she got into the asylum and the Rebecca that she was before she married the man her mother had chosen for her.
Her eyes were oblivious of the intense light invading her enlarged pupils; she tried to focus on a large mirror above her. In its reflection was that of a young girl lying on a small narrow bed, leather straps on her arms, legs and across her chest, her skin had a bluish tint of death; her body emancipated, her hollow raven eyes seem more animal than human. Then the lights became soft, a white garment of serenity blanketed the young girl. Rebecca closed her eyes then opened them for one last look looked; she knew that she and the young girl were the same and would soon be free; she smiled.
It was just a small black electrical box sitting on a chipped white enamel table; nineteen-year-old Rebecca her eyes now dark stagnant pools as she was unhooked from the box. Before they wheeled her from the room she closed her eyes for the last time, she had firsthand knowledge of the power of the little black box! It altered minds, made people submissive; her mother and her husband would no longer have to worry about being embarrassed, there would be no divorce in the family. Rebecca knew that her mother and money controlled “the black box”!
Rebecca’s soul smiled; she would miss her daddy… but no one noticed that the innocent young girl had just taken her last breath!